[ NOte from NOel : Still using the no-internet service provider excuse, but since the end (of Mother‘s Month ) is at hand, these senti thoughts will expire very very soon. I am thus putting them to electronic paper, thanks loads for remembering our special day SycipLaw memorable Atty Franco Noel Manaig, Sec. A classmate Daisy Chua – Davis, red rooster kabatch JeffLu, Mostly Sunny Gemma Malong, resto entrepreneur Maribeth Wong, Kulemate & entrepeneur TJ Jose, our Danish kabatch Cathy Vi – Clausen, Lord Chancellor Brod Thor Causing, Kulemate and tugang Bembem dela Torre, brod Atty Andrei Bon Tagum, Atty Al Kahayon, Canada-based cousin Victoria Rosin, cousin James Bautista, classmate Atty Imelda de Castro – Santore, officemate Dina Aviles, siobe Evelyne Sy Yu, sis Joy Yuson, officemate Mao Lim Agbuya, brod Atty Ricky Espina, nephew Alfonso Bautista, kabatch Joey Sy Evangelista, classmate and tugang Judessa Botor – Jaranilla, Bunso’s classmate Sadeen Macuha, officemate Malou Moyco, Auckland mate Leng Latosa, officemate and friend forever Arlene Latosa Ahorro, and neighbor and balikbayan Attys Dale and Ethel Villaflor ! If I’ve forgotten to thank you, I will surely remember next time ! ]
Dear kabatch, schoolmates, brods, kabayan, officemates, Huttmates, and friends :
I SHOULD have said “Incredible and Then-Underappreciated Things Mom Did…” but it would be inaccurate because I have since appreciated these things Mom did a whole lot more now, despite any unfortunate shortsightedness then. As regards their kids, their incredible body of motherly knowledge, supplemented by uncanny maternal instinct and intuition equips moms admirably against the risks, dangers and worldly catastrophes awaiting their children.
Pardon my pessimism, but I’m just basing these cynical thoughts on personal experience. Despite the best possible set of parents and relatives, healthy genes ( I can’t say I suffered from natural gifts, except maybe too-big teeth, the lack of the dancing chromosome, and below-average height ), a wholesome family life and better-than-average education each level up the ladder, I effed up most of these blessings and would have done worse if not for extreme good fortune. Which is why these favors my mother did for me count for a huge lot, as it happened not just because she was being herself, a concerned Mom, but because she cared enough to stand by and make sure I didn’t totally waste what was given me.
As usual, I have a couple of disclaimers and qualifiers for this list : She did the same things for my brothers and so I am not claiming by any means that i was her favorite, most probably I just needed the extra assist the most. Second qualifier is that Dad was always there supporting her, but when you think about it, while Dads do their best to be motherly, relatives always fill in and pinch-hit, everyone takes a back seat when it comes to taking care of their young to Moms, don’t you think :
First Favor : Select the best possible Yaya in the world for me. Mom was the supplementer, entrepreneurial and second-income type of matriarch, so instead of raising us from home, she did the next best thing. The yaya she selected was very good in what she did, not least because she had already taken care of my two elder brothers before me and had plenty of practice. In fact she was so good that like most of us who had great yayas, I learned to love her as my second mother, no fault of Mom whose only shortcoming was to choose too well. My yaya showered me with love, admonished me when I did wrong, knew her place and did not confuse me when it came to loving her back (“I love you, but dapat your Mom is No. 1“) and was hugely responsible for my healthy EQ, my respect for all women and a more-or-less happy childhood. Knowing you and me, that’s quite an achievement for anyone is this world. Thanks Yaya, and Thanks Mom, for Yaya !
Second Favor : Not spoil me in anything except books. Admittedly, this wasn’t hard for Mom to do, because by the early Seventies I had four other brothers competing for scarce resources and parental attention, and hand-me-downs ( including underwear ) from Kuyas too eager to throw them down to me. To be fair, I do remember two great toys I got for Christmas: a battery operated policecar with bright blinking red lights, unheard of in 1971, and a sleek red Easy Rider that I unwrapped a week before despite a strict embargo against such before Christmas. Otherwise, the only extravagance Mom allowed was quarterly trips to National Book Store, where the bros and I were allowed to choose favorite books like Ladybirds, Enid Blytons, and of course our beloved Hardy Boys. I was never certain why Mom permitted this, other than maybe she loved to read herself and the primary reason for the bookshop sprees was her own excursion to buy Mills & Boons, the latest Agatha Christie and occasional foray into Stephen King, which when you think about it, was pretty cool for her, as the latter has only risen to now become the most popular novelist of our generation, thanks to readers like her. Most of us who grew up in medium to large-sized families know that having siblings prepares us for learning to share and be socially adaptable, and so for this experience I’m grateful, Mom and Dad.
Third Favor : Enrol me in a terrific high school. It wasn’t Ateneo, La Salle or one of those exclusive schools, but just the same the combination of academics and discipline made me more well-rounded than anything else, and the only drawback I can tack against it, looking back, was the slight de-emphasis on athletics and sports, don’t know if this was intentional or not, but if you want to be fit and sporty, mass media and human nature will more than make up for any lack in your curriculum. I guess everyone I went to school with, not just in my batch, will agree with this.
Fourth Favor. Allowed me to enrol in UP. This was really uncharted territory for my folks, because their tendency was to go with Catholic institutions their relatives were familiar with. Going against her initial instincts, she allowed me to become the first in the brood to enrol in State U, and as a result, I received a slightly more liberal education, made friends from different parts of the country, and learned a little more about social realities than I would have had elsewhere. All because my folks, bucking the trend, went with the public school system.
Fifth Favor : Allowed me to go out on my own. This was a short Language Course, tuition and transpo care of a very generous aunt, for two months in Beijing, which was then just starting to recover from the Cultural Revolution and open up to the rest of the world. The two months on my own made me realize what a big world was out there, how dependent I was on family and friends, and how naive it was to maintain a worldview based on what I saw at home.
Sixth Favor : Left me on my own after I got married. Mostly out of disappointment, but also because she probably wanted me to stand on my own, I didn’t see my mother for more than I year after I got married. During the time, I endured quite a few hardships and made sacrifices I never thought I would make, but on the whole it strengthened my character and made me realize how thankful I was for the life I had before. By the time Mom saw Panganay when he was around one year old, I was quite grateful for the learning experience.
Seventh Favor : Took my kids in when I worked overseas. But parents will always be parents, and when I became an absentee dad myself after starting to work overseas, who would be there for birthdays, graduations and enrolments but Mom, who on her own initiative took a personal interest in the academics and physical well-being of Panganay, Ganda and Bunso, who had no choice but to love her even more for that. I know that grandparents frequently dote on their grandkids, but to go the extra mile and insist on knowing about everything going on with their apo’s when they had various projects, ailments and schedules to occupy them, was simply too much to ask from Mom, but she did it without fanfare and without even telling me. I can never thank her enough for that.
Naked and unashamed stand here the Seven Favors. I’m sure your own Moms have done selfless things for you, just thought I would share these memories. If you have time, please set aside aside some thanks for that person who will never hesitate to do anything for you, and in your own special ways thank her again and again. Believe you me, she will never tire hearing it.
Belated Happy Mothers Day to all !